Tuesday, March 5, 2019

God of Grace & Mercy

Hey guys!
It's March!!! Can you believe?  I mean, can you? 
In some ways, I feel like I'm stuck in January and unable to move forward; at the same time, how did we already make it to the month where the sun makes promises of warmth? 
It's mind-blowing!  And here we are.

Today, I'm in Nehemiah.  I LOVE this book.  You guys, if you have a chance to read Nehemiah, and if you should have your note-takers journals and pens handy, I would strongly recommend!  It's the other thing right now that I cannot believe I'm a part of.
Do you remember the process video I did back in February in this book?  If you haven't seen it already, the link is right here.  Through this video, I explain a bit more of where the people of Israel have been, what they've done, and how far they've come.  In this context, we meet Nehemiah now in chapter 9.
baby wipe with acrylic paint technique

Nehemiah chapter 9 and following (somewhat like the rest of Israelite history) is a bittersweet combination of a rebellious-turned-right-turned-rebellious people and a God that contains His wrath and justice to bring about His grace and mercy.
"Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes."  (Neh. 9:32a)
This is a request of Nehemiah that follows tightly on the heals of something that he'd just expressed from his heart of ache and plight.
"But in Your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and merciful God."  (v.31)
The God of the Bible - the same God of today - has far-reaching hands as He works (with delight, may I add?) to restore a people to Himself.  This same God does not tolerate idolatry of this people and carefully, with the most amazing and appropriate mixture of holiness and grace, guides them again into His fold.  He will not leave them.  He will not abandon them.  He will instruct them, which to some may come as an extreme move on His part, but for the fickle and the flighty,  He does what it absolutely necessary.
I don't think I'm alone when I think about how ridiculous it was for God to have given Israel so many chances; so many opportunities to come through and remain faithful.  SO MANY!  It's embarrassing to the same degree that the Lord chases me down and uses this same Fatherly chastising to bring a daughter (wayward and wandering), to the acknowledgment of who He is once again.  Many, many times.  Too many times.

Did you by chance catch the verse above?  The one about the "gracious and merciful God?" 
Let me try to dumb this down for us a bit: WITHOUT THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD THERE WOULD BE NO US.  Humanity at its best would still be a pile of rubble; rubbish ground down to bitter ashes of shame and nothingness.
God is holy, you guys, and His name is above all other names.  He gives His glory to no other; shares none of His weighted magnificence with anyone.  God is God, and only God is God.  So, having scriptures recount His glory in the highlights of His grace and mercy is huge for us.  It's huge!

Nehemiah understands this and that is why he vocalizes it in the community there in Jerusalem.  We all need to hear - repeated and distinctly - who God is, and the very breath by which we live under His Sovereignty.
This should really spark some general questions for us:
Why then do we continue to elevate and worship other "gods?"  The gods of finances, health, comfort, possessions, popularity, strength, religiosity?
I love the Jesus Bible and I quote from it often.  Here's a little snippet of something I read that clears up the mess in my brain over all of this.
"Remembering the past gave them (Israel) a focus for the future.  Having heard their own story, God's people faced a decision.  They could renew their covenant and continue on with God, or choose a different future, dedicated to other 'gods.'
"This covenant was not defined by a code of behavior or a list of intellectual truths.  The covenant was framed by the narrative of God's gracious acts toward a rebellious people."

God brings a mess of people - a ruin of broken hearts - under His care and by HIS GRACE AND MERCY ALONE causes the covenant to exist; again.
GOD is faithful.
GOD is wonderful.
GOD is gracious.
GOD is merciful.
To GOD be the glory for all the great things He has done.

I've been convicted by this book as a whole.  I'm reminded of God's pleasure which is not to destroy me - someone who daily flips with a given emotion or situation - but to renew me, to bring me back, and to restore me to rightful worship of the One True King.  My Daddy.  The God of Grace and Mercy.
May He get all the glory.  May I daily surrender to His lead.  May He remain the all-powerful God and Sovereign of my fickle, feeble heart.  May I ever fall on His grace and mercy in remembrance of what He has done.
Much love,


  1. This is such a beautiful page and a great message. Thank you for posting your process! :)

  2. Thank you for posting a comment! That was truly exciting to see that someone had written something! What a joy! Thank you, Janelle! This was a really fun page!